Breathe slowly – lower your blood pressure
According to a new Swedish study, control of breathing is almost as good as medication when it comes to high blood pressure. The technique is reminiscent of yoga and is taught with the aid of a machine that helps you breathe slower. The machine, which is called Resperate, has been around for a few years and has been tested by 90 patients in Göteborg, all of whom were suffering from high blood pressure. Some of them used medicine. More than 50% of these patients used Resperate three times a week, 15 minutes at a time. The rest of the patients were listening to soothing, calm music during the same amount of time. The results were presented recently at the European Society of Cardiology congress, and show that all the patients lowered their blood pressure, but the patients who used Resperate more so than the others, especially when it came to lowering of the diastolic pressure. According to associate professor Lennart Nord at Göteborg University, the result equaled that of a low dose of high blood pressure medication. “It is possible that this could be a treatment that can replace medication for some patients, or, alternatively, work as a complement. One advantage is that it has no side effects.” Resperate, he concludes, really helped the patients slow down their breathing. “And that’s not as easy as it sounds.”

Frida, our new apple
Ten years ago, Lars-Olof Börjesson at Äppelriket in Kivik felt a new Swedish apple was needed. Now, in 2010, 150 tons of Frida, Sweden’s newest apple, are harvested. Swedish apples often have a hard time competing with their foreign colleagues, because of their thin skins, making transports difficult. Thus Börjesson was looking for better qualities when he began collaborating with Professor Hilde Nybom at SLY Balsgård and cultivation consultant Krister Trulsson. Together they were looking for the best new apple. “Alice doesn’t like the heat in the stores, Katja’s fruits get too small if you don’t thin them out properly, and the tasty, yellow Gravensteiner also has problems with the environment in the stores. For Swedish apple cultivation’s survival, we simply had to find a new apple,” says Trulsson. They knew people buy with their eyes, so Frida had to be pretty, with a red color, and it is the colder nights that spur the red color in apples. Voila Frida - a mix between Aroma and an American apple. Frida is a tough one and handles frost well. All in all, Frida has lived up to all expectations.

Dying swan robot evokes ballet lovers' tears
Based upon the scene in Tchaikovsky's ballet, "Swan Lake," a four minute dance performed by a robot swan has been created at Mälardalen University, where it was choreographed by Åsa Unander-Scharin. Moving slowly and gently, sometimes in a dramatic and fiery flurry, the robotic swan's performance has impressed viewers who commented "touching", "fascinating" and "beautiful" as it went through its paces when it premiered at Sweden's book fair in Gothenburg earlier this fall. "We want to explore the limits of what a robot can do, what human expressions it can mimic, and how it affects people's perception of the robot when it makes an appearance in art and dance," explained Professor Lars Asplund of Mälardalen University in Västerås, Sweden, in collaboration with Kerstin Gauffin, with school's theatrical department. At about three feet tall, the dancing swan robot was built using a modular system in which the white wings, neck, beak and feet contain 19 different joints, and these make it very flexible. The robot swan performs each movement such as right wing up, neck down, etc., by itself and the computer inside it "recalls" the movement pattern and then plays it as an entire dance program. "I think it's exciting to see how emotionally touched people can get by machines, and to do the choreography for the swan robot has been great fun," commented the machine's "dance instructor," Unander-Scharin.

MP wants Social Democratic leader to resign
Raimo Pärssinen, social democratic MP thinks that the party leader, Mona Sahlin, ought to resign. He also believes that more MPs from the Social Democratic Party will say the same thing. “I don't see it as possible for her to continue as party leader until next election,” Pärssinen said. On Thursday, an invitation went out to party officials about an extraordinary conference call on Friday. The reason for this is said to be the serious situation in the party.